When did Thailand become independent?

History of the former Kingdom of Siam

The Golden Age of the Kingdom of Siam

The Kingdom of Siam dates back to the 6th century BC. BC back. Buddhism, in turn, was introduced in AD 638. In the 13th century, the Thai people established their first independent state in Sukhothai. The kingdom of Sukhothai prevailed against the Khmer, this period is considered to be the golden age of Thai history. In 1555 the Burmese conquer Ayuthia. They are expelled again twelve years later, but conquer Ayuthia a second time in 1767. Subsequently, the Burmese are expelled in 1769 by General Phayatak, who is of Chinese origin. He founded the new capital Bangkok in 1772 (which you should visit).

The Kingdom of Siam opens up abroad

In 1855 the Kingdom of Siam opened to trade with England, 1858 with France, 1862 with Germany and 1868 with Austria. King Mongkut carries out numerous social and economic reforms. His son Chulalongkorn abolishes slavery and approaches England: he is raised by an Englishwoman and as governor he maintains personal relationships with the foreign consuls and lets his children educate in England.

flickr cc Nicolas Vollmer

The weakening of the kingdom

The treaty of October 3rd, 1893 forces the Siamese to give up all areas on the left side of the Mekong. France colonized this area. Later the French and English left the different areas of the Menam Basin again. The areas in the west, including the Malaysian peninsula, are recognized as English territory, while the areas in the east, i.e. the Mekong basin, are under French influence. Ultimately, only a small part of Siam is autonomous.

Military dictatorships and violence

The Kingdom of Siam becomes Thailand during the second reign of Phibun Songkhram, which lasted from 1938 to 1944. After the Second World War, Phibun Songkhram and some of his companions were charged with war crimes, but acquitted. Since 1973, the history of Thailand has been shaped by the change between military and civil power. The Thai Rak Thai party, led by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ruled the country from 2001 to 2006 before being ousted in a military coup.

First referendum: Thais have a say

In 2007, the Thai people adopt the New Constitution in the first referendum in the country's history. The People's Power Party wins elections that same year, but Thailand remains very unstable and large rallies break out in 2010. In 2011, Thaksin Shinawatra's sister becomes Prime Minister. Two years later, she is charged with being her brother's political puppet. It is therefore organizing early parliamentary elections in February 2014, but these will be declared invalid one month later.

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Updated October 27, 2015